Michelle McGann, 22, is known on the women's professional golf circuit for her booming, 250-yard drives—and her gallery of hats. She has 60, to be exact, all wide-brimmed and embellished with coins, sequins, glitter, medallions or other colorful trimmings. McGann carefully matches her headgear to her sweaters, slacks, jewelry—even her fingernail polish. "I've always been fashion conscious, but I didn't think it would go this far," says the bubbly McGann, who turned pro four years ago but only started collecting hats in July 1991, during the U.S. Women's Open in Fort Worth. "The heal was unbearable," she says, "so I went out and bought two Laura Ashley straw hats to wear on tour. I got a lot of compliments, so I bought a couple more and then a couple more." After she picked up 10 more at the new Mall of America megamall in Minneapolis during the Northgate Computer Classic in August, she stepped back and took stock. "The hats are taking up my whole bedroom," moans McGann, who lives with her parents, Bernadette and James "Bucky" Charles, on Florida's Singer Island. "I'm running out of space."
Life on the road, meanwhile, brings its own headwear challenges. When she plays on the East Coast, McGann can tote 30 hats because her lather, who caddies for her, drives her to tournaments in the family's roomy Chevy van. But when she flies out West, she travels with two hat boxes that can only accommodate five chapeaus apiece. "The tournaments I've played well in, I've worn a different hat for each of the days, so I don't have a lucky hat," says McGann, who has earned more than $200,000 this year. "And when I don't play that well, I blame my putting, not the hat."
McGann is partial to such designer labels as Whittall & Shon. And though her hats cost an average of $100 apiece, she doesn't have to pay for the rest of her golf clothes. She represents Aurea and has her pick of the line each season. Naturally, she says, "I wish somebody would ask me to represent their hats."
In her leisure time, McGann dates a guy who wears a helmet—Buffalo Bills offensive tackle John Fina—and prefers to simply live life as an unfettered blonde. "I'll be in a mall or at a restaurant, and people will say, 'Where's your hat?' " she says. "But I think of the golf course as my office. When I leave, the day's over." And her hat's off.
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